Thursday, May 22, 2008

Never Forget

To me, Memorial Day is not only a day that I honor those that gave their life to serve this great country but also a day to honor my husband.

My husband is an active duty Marine. He joined in 2002 but had wanted to be a Marine since he was 10 years old. He joined into the DEP program when he was 17 and graduated high school early to leave for boot camp. He and I married 6 days after his boot camp graduation while he was on his 10 day leave before heading to his MOS school where he would become a part of the Marine Corps Field Artillary or an 0811. His job is a combat MOS which involves shooting howitzers. Generally when field artillary are deployed to combat situations they are deployed as grunts also known as infantry or as we in the marine corps lovingly call them, the human shield.
Luckily, when my husband was deployed to Iraq in 2004 he went as field artillary and not as a grunt which is very uncommon.
My husband recieved a purple heart in Iraq when his convoy was hit by a road side bomb. Luckily no one was killed but my husband took shrapnel to his face and by the grace of God only had to have a few stitches. Never in any other time of my life have I been so scared for my husband and I thank God every day for bringing him home safely.
Thankfully my husband's entire battery returned all in one piece save for my husband's injury.
They were VERY lucky. We as the wives, mother's, father's and children of that battery were very lucky. Not everyone is so fortunate.
Which is why I am thankful for Memorial day. It's a time to reflect on the losses we have sustained as a country from each and every war. A time to reflect on those that gave up their lives to ensure our freedom. A time to thank those brave veterans who have been injured and disabled while protecting this great country. And a time to thank those that continue to put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis.

So while you enjoy your long weekend full of BBQ's, family trips and outtings please take a moment and remember what this holiday is really about.
The selfless act of those who have given up their lives so that we can live in peace and enjoy those BBQ's that we will all be attending.

Please take a moment and view this video that my husband created showing what his job is to be an 0811, field artillary crewman.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to Advertise on Craigs List

I advertise on my local craigs list and on occassion craigs list in other areas of the US. It has brought sales into my store and locally offline. There has been some interest within the Homefront group that I tell them how I post without being flagged.

Here is a link to my current craigs list ad.

Craigs list has bots just like etsy that catch certain words that shouldn't be posted and in result they will remove your listing.
One sure fire way to get flagged and removed is by completely directing someone to your Etsy store without offering the option for local pick up or to work through your email address.
Of course you will want to direct them to your Etsy store but the best way to word it is by saying check out my site for more photos and details of the work I am able to do. Most people get the idea when they see it and will either purchase from your site or email you directly and place a custom order.
When posting a link for your etsy store I find that posting my mini, which will not show up as a mini, works best. Copy and paste the flash version of your mini and it will shop up as links saying buy hand made buy etsy and then your store name.

Avoid saying things like "I have sales every monday!" or check out my free shipping etc. Mentioning shipping in your ad again will get you flagged and removed because craigs list sees those posts as scams. Again, if they need the item shipped to them they will figure it out through your Etsy store or by emailing you.

The best thing to do is just give a rundown of your product and your price ranges. People on craigs list are generally looking for deals. There are people willing to pay more for handmade, custom and unique pieces as well so stating your range of prices up front helps a lot.

Of course there are always those craigs list snobs, especially in the babies and kids section, that will flag anyone trying to offer a service without thinking twice. In this case craigs list doesn't generally second guess and removes your posting. Your best bet is to email craigs list at the email they provide and ask them why you were flagged. As long as you are offering a tangible item that your target market can pick up within distance of their relative location then there is no reason for them to remove you and they will allow you to keep posting.
And when I say relative distance, that generally means within your states and the surrounding states.

Try to avoid posting to a craigs list half across the country because people will find you annoying and your shop a waste of their time because you are not even close to their region.
I know this from experience as I have had customers from Craigs List in my area that said they had thought about purchasing from another person who posts bows on my local Craigs List until they saw that she was located in California. In result they flagged her post simply because they were irritated that it wouldn't be available for pick up and purchased from me instead. :)

Other tips for craigs list posting is that most purchases are made toward the end of the week and over the weekend as that's when people have money to burn and time to surf the net. Or if you are in a military town posting on or after pay day is a good time for posting as well.

Craigs List buyers can sometimes, not generalizing, be a bit different. Some things to be aware of is that if you conduct a sale for a custom item they are picking up make sure you have a set price that you make sure they acknowledge to you either over the phone or through email. Make sure they acknowledge that you are asking cash only and that they bring EXACT change. I have had people show up with less than the total amount hoping I would sell for less. To help avoid this I state up front this is the cost, payment is upon pick up in cash only with exact change. If you do not bring cash and exact change I cannot sell you the item and you are welcome to go and pick up cash and exact change otherwise there will not be a transaction. Also, NEVER make an item to be shipped that you are expecting payment after completion. There is a lot of impulse buying on CL because people are fearful that if they don't purchase it first someone else might snag it up. Sometimes people don't think through their purchase and then change their minds leaving you with a finished custom project with nothing to show for it. I usually ask half the price in cash or through paypal up front. I do not start working on it until I recieve half of the amount and it has cleared.
Also there are scammers on CL that will email you wanting you to ship to another country etc. I generally avoid these transactions all together. Of course we can and are willing to ship to other countries but generally the people wanting shipment to another country from purchasing in a craigs list in Washington DC are looking to scam you.

So happy posting, I hope some of you are able to post to CL without being flagged and removed after reading this post and that it brings you many new sales. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Slack posting, new items and Monday madness

It certainly has been a while. What have I been up to? Let's see. Spending time with the kiddos, relaxing and working my little, I mean big, tushy off. ;)

I have listed a lot of new bows with some of the new ribbon I have bought and have incorporated some new designs so be sure to check my etsy shop to view them.

I have also been working on some new bibs and haven't decided whether or not I will add them to my shop. For the time being I am just making a ton of bibs for my children, my nephew and my friend's kiddos and that is rewarding in itself for the time being.

Monday madness sale is today! I'm having a BOGO. Buy any one item get the 2nd one half off. 2nd item must be of equal or lesser value than the full priced item.
Be sure to look for Homefront in the chat rooms tonight starting at 6pm EST for other fantastic sales from Homefront shops!

I promise that I'll have a better update soon. For now it's back to work!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Being from one place and living in another you sometimes see things that you never knew existed or were possible. Generally you end up mentioning it, in a very astounded manner, to someone who thinks you're completely dense because they've known it all along since they have either grown up in the area or an area where it's common place.
This seems to happen to me a lot considering we are military and are originally from Northern Michigan. Something that shocks the heck out of me might have been something you grew up with somewhere else in the world.

When we lived in North Carolina it was the kamikazee beatles. I am still unaware of their actual name. We call them kamikazee beatles because they literally fly directly into your house, car, yourself etc. And not lightly either. These are HUGE bugs and when they would thud against the house in the summer time you could definately hear it. Also the Banana Spiders there were out of control. When I found one on my air conditioner I about had a heart attack until I found out it was completely harmless. It certainly didn't look like it was when I considered it's size and flashy colors. Generally those two things together in my mind scream blood sucking killer. :)

Now that I'm in Virginia it's the catapillers. Of course I grew up knowing what catapillers were and seeing them, even playing with them when I was a child.
Although I only ever saw a few catapillers all year and never in the same spot.
Here, apparently, it's commonplace for hundreds of catapillers to be on the same tree. And not a large tree either, a baby tree! Here are the photos from ONE tree across the street from my house. Mind you we have about 20 trees on our street and they all look the same way. Covered in tons of catapillers. I guess it's one huge catapiller family reuinion. I think my neighbors thought I was nuts when they saw me photographing them. :)

Treasury Madness on the Homefront!

I have been lucky enough to be featured in 4 different treasuries featuring the wonderful shops that are partcipating in the Homefront May Day Give Away
And have created another Treasury for the Homefront Street Team called Sizzle and Pop.
Thank you to all the great Homefront members that featured me!